My relationship with epinions began after I stumbled upon a review for magnesium citrate entitled That’s Not a Firehose, That’s My Butt. I wish I could remember what led me there but I just can’t. And really, does it matter? The website, or at least the part that involved me, is dying, and the content within that review is more memorable than the context that led me to it. When I looked into the website I realized these people were writing reviews for “income share.” Writing for money? Yes please…
I began writing for epinions.com in September of 2003, just after starting my sophomore year of college. Unlike most people, I actually liked my freshman composition class and felt like my writing skills really improved my first year of college. I wrote my first epinions reviews on a computer game, a restaurant, and then a book. They were pretty crappy, at least I think so when I read them now. The idea was that users would become a part of this writing community where we all wrote product reviews, then read each other’s reviews and rated them (not helpful, somewhat helpful, helpful, very helpful, and the rare most helpful) and commented. Highly rated reviews were more visible to the public. The more hits received the more income share a review earned. Being an avid reader I naturally began writing about what I knew: books. The books category had high expectations but the other review writers were so nice and encouraging. At the end of my first month I received a payout for $0.01. Yes, one penny. The next month, October 2003, I received $0.10. I received $10.76 that first year. Not even half a gas tank, but man was it fun.
I learned on February 25 of this year that epinions, owned by eBay, was shutting down the community aspect of the website. All reviews are now owned by eBay (meaning though I still retain the rights to post them elsewhere, I can’t easily remove them from epinions). No more income share. No more rating each other’s writing skills. No more community.
To be honest, it doesn’t come as a shock. There have been database issues for years and other things. And really I hadn’t written since 2010. After having the kids and being eyebrow-deep in my master’s degree and work I just didn’t find the time. I kept thinking “I’ll get back to it. Just not today.” Each time I read a good book I’d think about what I would rate it and what the pros and cons were. How could I sell it to other people without ruining the story? Then I would smile, return the book to my shelf or the library and move on with life.
The money didn’t make or break me. I still maintain contact with the friends I made on the site. I still have ways to find good books and reviews on products. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry a little when I got that email. It just reminds me of how many times I’ve said “I’ll get around to it.”
So, part of this blog was my attempt to get back around to it. I like writing, and I feel like I’m decent at it. I like re-reading what I’ve written, recalling things I had forgotten I’d written about including the things that were going on when I read that book or watched this movie. I recently reread reviews I had written about baby toys from when Trent was younger. A Jägermeister review from my jäger days. The review about earbuds Nate bought me that somehow earned me four times as much money as they cost. My hope is that I will continue writing and enjoying it and recording memories. I plan to go through my old reviews and share some of them here periodically. I’m finding a new permanent home for most of them hopefully.
10 1/2 years, 242 reviews, 151,831 visits, $1,435.88. Twas fun, epinions.